Shedding Some Light On The Big 3
Women’s fitness is for the most part centered around cardio, and light resistance training (and I mean light) with lots of reps. First I would like to say good job to anyone who takes it upon themselves to get fitter. But don’t be fooled into thinking that cardio is going to make you skinny or weights are going to make you bulky or extreme dieting is enough to make you fit into that dress you loved from back in high school. I’m going to give you the reasons why you should do less cardio, lift heavier weights, and eat more.
1. Ever hear that if you want to lose weight you should do more cardio? Most of us have fallen into that trap. When you do any workout for a long period of time, the body stresses out, no matter how much you enjoy it. When your body stresses, it changes. Some stress is good, too much stress is counter productive. This means after about 30-45 minutes of working out, the body gets overly stressed and fat burning stops and muscle tissue breakdowns. This can slow down your metabolism significantly.
This isn’t instant though. It takes time to change the bodies metabolism. So most people see really good results with hours of cardio for the first two weeks of training. Until, finally they start hitting a wall “Plateau”. Weight loss goes down, fatigue goes up. You get softer, you start losing motivation, and you start eating more junk. This doesn’t seem very productive.
SOLUTION: Mix up your workouts. Don’t just run on the treadmill or step-mill, do some weights, do some body weight training, or take a good group class that is high intensity and gives you plenty of rest. I recommend 5 minutes of stretching/ muscle prep, 10-15 minutes of cardio, 15-30 minutes of resistance training or reactive training (high intensity bodyweight, sports drills, plyo-metric), and another 5 minutes cool down/stretch.
2. DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE WEIGHTS.
When I’m in the weight room, I’m usually the only woman there actually lifting some weights. I mean there are other girls but they only lift 10lbs and under. It’s actually pretty sad. Why are ladies afraid of the weights? I hear it all the time, “I don’t want to get bulky.”
Fact is, most females lack sufficient testosterone to make them bulky. Also it takes more than just lifting heavy weight to gain muscle mass. It takes a properly designed weight lifting regimen and proper nutrition to gain those bulky muscles. In some cases drugs are used to make it more possible for men and women to get bulky muscles. However, it is possible to do it naturally, but it does take a very specific program, intensity, and discipline. Point is, as a woman you have to tell yourself, “I want to get bulky and try really, really, REALLY hard to do it.” So don’t be afraid of the weights.
Weight training also increases muscle strength and bone strength. Proper weight training can decrease the chance of having osteoporosis which is very common in women. Also weight training in most studies has been shown to burn more calories during a workout and also raise your metabolism throughout the day.
SOLUTION: Don’t be afraid of adding weight training to your workout. You wont be adding masculine bulky muscles. You will actually build a gorgeous curvy figure that will look great in a bathing suit.
Literally people think that if they don’t eat very much their body will burn fat. This is fine in theory but it just doesn’t work very well. On top of that p
eople eat less and move more. Remember how I talked about stress. Not eating enough food to sustain your activity is damaging to your body’s metabolism.
SOLUTION: Eat according to your activity level. Its fine to eat less and move more but don’t starve yourself thinking that you’ll lose a lot of weight. It’s unhealthy and counterproductive.
Basically, don’t listen to those who say “more cardio is better” or you shouldn’t be lifting weights because you will get bulky muscles. This is simply not the truth. Fact is most of these people don’t know what they are talking about. You will gain strength without bulk, tighten and tone up your entire body without looking unhealthy and flabby. Would you rather waste a lot of time and energy at the gym and end up with a soft unhealthy body or achieve great results and spend affecting and less time?
Christine Tarpinian, Certified Personal Trainer